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Evan Gottlieb
Evan Gottlieb is associate professor of English in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University, and affiliate faculty with the Global Center for Advanced Studies. His most recent book is Romantic Globalism: British Literature and Modern World Order, 1750-1830 (Ohio State University Press, 2014).

Entries by Evan Gottlieb

What's Satire Got to Do With It?

(4) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 9:50 AM

In the wake of the terrible Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, there have been many shows of solidarity with the slain cartoonists and their fellow staff members. There have also been some thoughtful retrospectives on that particular magazine's history of satirical caricature (for example, here), and on the...

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Copycat Culture: Adapting to a World of Adaptations

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 12:10 PM

When it comes to fiction - which today includes television, movies, video games, and other narrative media - copying someone else's ideas is nothing new. The Romans, after all, openly borrowed most of their gods from the Greek pantheon; the Greeks, in turn, clearly adopted and adapted elements from the...

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Scotland: Literary Land of Multiple Personalities and Perspectives

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 5:50 PM

With so much else going on this summer, it's taken a while for people outside the United Kingdom to realize that an important national referendum is about to happen. But inside the UK, and especially in Scotland -- where I've been living for the summer -- everyone has been talking...

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What's New with Novels?

(1) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 4:03 PM

From its start in the early 18th century, the novel as a genre has always resisted easy definition. Samuel Johnson, literary critic and author of the first comprehensive English dictionary (check out a cool digital version here), defined the novel in 1755 as "a small tale,...

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Ode to the Sonnet

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 2:56 PM

April is National Poetry Month -- or maybe you hadn't noticed? Don't worry; you're probably not alone. Poetry, as I've remarked before, occupies only a small corner of the literary world these days. Part of this problem, perhaps, is that poetry in English lacks definition today....

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Jane Austen, 'Game Theorist?' Try 'Subversive Sitcom Scribe'

(2) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 9:23 AM

The world of Jane Austen is growing steadily larger. While the focus of her fiction is notoriously narrow, geographically speaking, the world of her readers, viewers, and fans continues to expand with every new book, movie, TV series, and sequel based on the original. What most of these new productions...

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In Defense of Reading -- Again

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 6:02 PM

Reading has been in the news again lately -- mostly because it doesn't seem to be anywhere else. According to a Pew Research Center study on the subject, the median number of books read by the "average American" is a grand total of five a year -- which...

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An Old-Fashioned New Year's Resolution: Memorize More Poetry!

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 3:31 PM

To begin the new year, I've resolved to go back to something old: in 2014, I'm going to try to memorize a poem a week, each at least a sonnet's length (14 lines). Does this sound weird? I kind of hope it does. I freely admit that there are many...

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What Frankenstein Can Teach Us About the Real Crisis in the Humanities

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 5:33 PM

Recently, the philosopher Gary Gutting published a wise opinion piece, "The Real Humanities Crisis," in The New York Times. Granted, the latest version of the "there's a crisis in the Humanities!" meme had already been debunked several times (especially here and here). But the...

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Zombie Babies and Frankenstein: Why Pop Culture Still Hesitates to Depict Undead Kids

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 4:06 PM

Another Halloween has come and gone, but the ghosts of the Gothic linger in the cool air. I recently watched one of last summer's Hollywood blockbusters, World War Z (dir. Marc Forster). Despite seeing it on a plane, which is not the ideal place to immerse oneself in...

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Tales From the Dark Side: Horror Flicks Rooted in Gothic Past

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 6:08 PM

Looking back over this past summer's Hollywood offerings, the entertainment media has made much of the many box office bombs it produced, at least domestically. Duds like The Lone Ranger, which cost approximately $250 million but brought in only $85.5 million domestically, and White House Down, which cost...

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Literature, What Is It Good For?

(9) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 10:28 AM

As I get ready to begin another year of teaching literature and literary theory classes at my university, it occurs to me to reflect on what it means to teach such courses today. Recently, there has been another outbreak of public debate regarding what value, if any, the teaching of...

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The Future's So Bright, I'm Afraid to Look: On Science/Speculative Fictions

(4) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 2:13 PM

The publication of a new novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood is always an exciting literary event. MaddAddam (2013) -- pronounced "Mad Adam," and creatively palindromic -- is the final installment of a futuristic trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued...

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We Will Be Fooled Again: The Strange Pleasures of Narrative Trickery

(6) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 2:39 PM

Nobody likes being lied to in real life, so why do we enjoy being lied to on the page? This question follows from my previous post, in which I try to explain why we take pleasure in fictional exploits that would horrify us if we experienced them firsthand.

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Murder, She Read: Why Bad Deeds Make Good Fictions

(2) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 1:09 PM

One of the great pleasures of reading a good novel, watching a compelling movie, or going to a well-acted play is getting to experience things that our everyday lives don't offer us. Sometimes these experiences are grand and terrifying, like the battles portrayed in Leo Tolstoy's War and...

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Building a Better Book Club

(2) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 3:03 PM

From what I've heard, being in a book club can be frustrating. I have to admit that I've never joined one; as someone who reads, teaches, and writes about literature for a living, I've restricted myself to professional "reading groups" with the assumption that, when I have free time, I...

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(Don't) Finish What You Started: In Defense of Not Reading Cover to Cover

(9) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 5:58 PM

When is it OK to give up on a novel? With summer reading season nearly upon us, the self-induced pressure to finish every new novel you buy can become intense. In fact, I hear this sentiment fairly frequently throughout the year, not only from students but also from fellow readers...

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It's Good to Be Bad: In Defense of Not-Nice Poetry

(2) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 5:43 PM

Lately I've been reading a lot of bad poetry. Not "bad" in the sense of "poorly written"; on the contrary, the contemporary poems I've been reading (and teaching in my Introduction to Poetry course) by authors like Margaret Atwood, Michael Robbins, and Frederick Seidel are, to my mind, some of...

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The Power of Plot

(3) Comments | Posted May 16, 2013 | 6:05 PM

Dan Brown's new novel, Inferno, has predictably shot to the top of the best-seller lists in America and Britain; equally predictably, it has been condemned by many professional reviewers on the same grounds as its predecessors. Look up any review of Brown's fiction, scan it for descriptions of...

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Who's Afraid of a Little Literary Theory?

(20) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 10:29 PM

When I tell people I'm an English professor, I frequently get one of several responses. When it's "You're not going to correct my grammar, are you?" I can reassure them that I won't (even if I can't help doing so in my head). Then, depending on the nature of their...

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